Thursday, December 8, 2022


Was it belt separation or not, on a towed’s destroyed tire


RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

I saw a post that started out with a claim of a belt separation on a front tire of a 2007 Jeep Sport while it was being towed behind a Class A rig. [Click on any image to enlarge.]

Luckily the owner posted a picture that I felt was suspicious as to the cause of the belt separation. While the owner was going about getting the Jeep repaired and tires replaced, I messaged the owner and asked if they could provide better pictures. I advised full sunlight and straight-on shots showing just the tread.

Here are the two front tires after being removed from the Jeep.

The LF shows the belt separation which led to the air loss when the edge of the steel belts cut and punctured the tire carcass.

If we take a closer look at the LF and note the Tearing and Wearing of the tread elements, we can confirm the tire was turned hard right while the Jeep was pulled forward by the tow bar. I have added a red arrow showing the direction the road surface moved across the face of the tire tread.

I have circled a couple of tread sipe edges that show the lifting of the leading edge of the slots.

“Sipe” is the name for the small, thin parts of a tire tread pattern that leaves small narrow slots in the tread surface. This “lifting” occurs as the edges of the sipe slot are bent down into the empty space in the tread pattern.

The yellow box identifies the relatively smaller level of wear on the trailing edge of the tread.

Here is the RF where I showed the leading edges of the larger tread blocks that have been worn away from having the tire being pulled sideways across the road surface.

The owners of the Jeep believe the steering wheel lock was not engaged, but so far inspections by auto mechanics have not been able to learn why the tires were being dragged straight ahead while they were turned hard right.

As can easily be seen, the result of being dragged put more load on the outer edge of the LF tire, which suffered the greatest level of damage. I would estimate that the tires were pulled for a good number of miles based on the severe damage to the tread. Before the vehicles were stopped, the tires did appear to straighten the steering and pull straight ahead for a number of miles as the tread surface does not display surface scrub marks I have observed on other tires that have been slid across the road surface.

Yes, there was a belt separation but it was caused not by any tire defect but by some mechanical failure of the vehicle steering system.

IMO the above is a reasonable example of a “Failed Tire” examination and analysis of the evidence that leads to a probable cause of the tire problem. Experience in tread wear pattern and anomalies is a definite plus in completing this examination.

Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at


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Grant Mitchell
4 years ago

Roger; I have somehow miss-placed your e-mail address, hence the following: Taking your advice last year, I began pricing research on replacing my RV tires, wheel bearing re-pack, etc. I’d like to share that experience with you, if possible. Please send me your address if your busy schedule allows. Many Thanks !!

John Whitney
4 years ago

Do you think a tire monitor would have alarmed due to temp before the tire failed? I really like the service your different analysis of tire failures does to raise people ‘s awareness as to why tires fail.

Gary R
4 years ago
Reply to  John Whitney

I see a TPMS sensor on the wheel in the first picture. It seems that the system was either non-functional or unable to warn the operator in time to avoid a catastrophic tire failure.

Roger Marble
4 years ago
Reply to  Gary R

Sorry, Gary but I don’t agree. The pressure probably did not drop till the air chamber was compromised by the failed belt. With no air loss and no significant temperature rise, I don’t know why you would think the sensor would trigger.

Roger Marble
4 years ago
Reply to  John Whitney

No, I don’t think any TPMS, internal or external would have warned as the temperature of the tire probably did not approach the normal warning level of 158F
In the tires that have slid sideways or been dragged, I have not seen signs of internal heating. While the surface of the tread may get warm the “hot bits” are being peeled off. In this case, the tire was still rotating just not in the direction of travel.